November 29, 2019 Subject:
Cancer in Paul of Aegina’s Totius rei medicae libri VII
Paul of Aegina, in the 7th century, deals with cancer in two chapters. In book IV, chapter 1 announces: 'Cancer is the elephantiasis of one part, elephantiasis is the cancer of the whole body' (152-155). Chapter 26 adds that 'cancer commonly appears in every part of the body', for example 'in the eyes and in the uterus', as well as 'in many other parts', but it 'mostly abounds in the breasts of women because they are not tightly bound, and are quickly laden with a ‘very fat matter' (167-168). On Paul of Aegina’s discussion of mastectomy and treatment of cancer of the uterus, see: A. Karpozilos and N. Pavlidis, ‘The treatment of cancer in Greek antiquity’, European Journal of Cancer, 2004; 40:2033-2040 - D.J.T. Wagener, The History of Oncology, Houten, Springer, 2009, 62-63 – J. Rouëssé, Une histoire du cancer en Occident, Paris, Springer, 2011, 6, 88, 91 –See also V. Nutton, From Democedes to Harvey, London, Variorum Reprins, 1988, 78-83, 88-89; V. Nutton, Ancient Medicine. Second edition, Abingdon, Routledge, 2013, 31-33, 188, 3023. Rev. D. Adams and D. Droixhe.